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Monday, 22 April 2013

Crystal Fighters Secret Gig 18-04-13

Crystal Fighters Secret Gig
Hoxton Square Bar And Kitchen
From butthurt to appeasement 
Recently it was brought to my attention that Crystal Fighters, one of my favourite bands of the moment were going to be doing a secret show for fans. With secret being the operative word here, the gig wasn't  heavily advertised and you had to enter your email to be sent the invite.  Printouts in hand, myself and my good pal Alice (and her beautiful mother and friend) arrived at the venue (7PM), stood in line and ordered in our respective beverages of choice. We admired the indie art adorning the walls, we jumped at the offer of free posters and stickers. But little did we know what was going to follow...

After waiting for about an hour and a half we finally got closer to the function room's entrance, at which point we went out for a cigarette and returned to learn that we'd made into the confines of just-before-the-cut-off-point. The bouncer told us that we'd definitely be getting in (cue fist clenched-eureka- elbow-towards-your-body-action*) but we were told that there was no more entry til 9:30. That was okay though, because we were definitely going to get in, right? 

We watched as those with wristbands were allowed into the packed little room in front of us, how had they managed to get in we wondered, when we'd arrived there wasn't many people (we were blind to how many people were now queueing up outside down the street behind us). It turns out some people had got there mega early, fair enough. Oh AND (so I've heard) 150 guest passes had been given out to a 250 capacity gig FOR FANS. 
This slightly angered me, I had thought that due to the fact this was a free gig for fans it wouldn't be a 'press thing' had I known I could have secured definite entry and saved us from the 2 and a bit hours (maybe more?) agony we endured. What made it worse was that a quick scour of twitter revealed a few triumphant guest listers who acknowledged the hourdes of fans queuing up and then gloated about being on the list #nobiggie. Cue butthurtness. 

I suppose  found this experience was refreshing, going to a gig as a punter, a massive fan with no responsibility but to enjoy myself rather than focus on what I could potentially report on. Though one of the perks of my journalism role is that I do get to see my favourite bands, tonight technically there was nothing separating me from everyone else waiting in line. And like them I was angry  envious  at each and every suited media mogul who fleeted past me gaining instant access.

"There is no more entry to this gig tonight, could you please clear this area". Nobody moved. Five minutes later "You're not going to be let in, please clear this area, if you want to stay the gig will be played through the speakers". To a diehard fans this statement provided little compensation. A group of us decided to stay, Alice and I hung on whilst the rest of our group decided to grab a bite. Crystal Fighters took to the stage. The curtains were opened in front of the doors so we could glimpse what we were missing. The throng pushed, we were told to step back, "we" pushed still, breaking into dance and song. 

"Are this band quite big then?" the bouncer shouted over the music at us. 
"Not really, they're just really good, they have a lot of fans" came Alice's reply.
"They're signed to Atlantic" informed music journo knowledge?!?
Though we were mad at the bouncer for letting people who had pushed in front of us (a fan on fan don't punishable by seething looks and sometimes rude oratory output) in and for essentially doing his job he then redeemed himself. 
One clever gal decided to ask someone leaving the room whether they were coming back and if they could have their wristband if they weren't. Bingo, they didn't. Of course the bouncer shouldn't care, its  a numbers game after all. So this became the new system. People crossed the threshold, were queried and wristbands were given to the initially butthurt hangers about.
"Be nice, we're next". 
And finally we were in, cue appeasement. 
"There's no way we're going to get any further in" did say Alice. But oh how she was wrong. Utilising my slightness, MASSIVE bag and determination, I got us to the front because lets face it when you're barely legal or < if you're not at the front (or as close to) its not worth it. 

Crystal Fighters played a blinder of set, featuring  their latest numbers 'Wave', 'Separator' as well as the old favourites 'Champion Sound', 'Solar System' and 'Xtatic Truth'. There wasn't a single person not jumping, dancing, flailing or a combination of the three. 

Sebastian looked like a wizard and danced like a hippy. Honestly it was like he was in his own little world but still managing to sing perfectly in the real time of reality. 

Gilbert rocked the pianos and synths out back. 
A topless Graham brought the noise on guitar 

And Ellie also lent her impressive vocals and stagewomanship to the success of the gig. Looking beautiful in a dress designed by a friend. Go check out some of her acapella work on YouTube!

All in all, we came away very happy with Crystal Fighter's performance and our persistence to see them do so. We came, we danced and we conquered. Drowned in accumulated sweat we made for the exit and made some new friends including one of Crystal Fighters themselves. Ellie was absolutely lovely to meet and chat with.

The bouncers even took a selfie on my phone. What sports.

To conclude, the unwavering performance of The Crystal Fighters dissipated most  of the trials and tribulations it took to see them. They were a treat to the ears of us that managed to get in. But if it is true that there were so many guest passes given out to a fan show then I hope the next one is better arranged, especially given it was marketed as an "operative word" FAN affair. 

* Does anyone know the proper term for that clenching your fist and shouting 'Yesss!' action?


What we could see at this point